Whisked away from WhatsApp
One can only wonder what sort of sordid fantasies Modi and his ilk may be dreaming up. As reports emerge of Kashmiri WhatsApp accounts disappearing, one can almost hear India’s Hindu nationalists think to themselves: “Why don’t Kashmiris disappear off the face of the Earth already?”
After all, that is what has characterised Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party’s approach towards the people of the occupied territory. In statement and in action, they have time and again betrayed that Kashmiris in their consciousness are little more than a nuisance. A sore thorn in the path to realising their anachronistic dream of an India only for Hindus.
From the repeal of the constitutional provisions that guaranteed the last vestiges of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy to placing them under a total information blockade with no end in sight, the Modi regime has so far showed its only policy for the people of the valley is to demand they put up and shut up. As its various representatives attempt to justify the moves as being in ‘Kashmiris’ own interest’ at the world stage, one is compelled to speculate if they truly believe it or are they in fact simply too cynical to care.
For those with any empathy, in and outside of India, this disappearance of Kashmiris off of WhatsApp comes as both a grim reminder and a warning. As they vanish from our friends lists, it is a reminder that these ever-suffering people still exist, incarcerated in silence. It is also a warning that continued silence on their plight, particularly by the reasonable segments of Indian citizenry, will bring BJP’s Hindu nationalist fantasies even closer to fruition.
If no one calls Modi and others like him out, WhatsApp and other social media networks may not be the only thing the people of Kashmir could end up disappearing from.
Pyongyang’s latest prankm
North Korea claims to have carried a very important test at a satellite-launching site. Security experts believe it could be a ground-based test of an engine to power a satellite launcher or an intercontinental ballistic missile. All of this comes at a time when Kim Jong Un appears to have shut the door on the US for further negotiations. And while North Korea was planning the test, US President Donald Trump was still hoping to reach an agreement on the denuclearization. But with the latest test, it seems even as the Trump White House is actively pursuing diplomacy with North Korea, a centre-piece of his foreign policy agenda, it has failed to extract any concessions on the denuclearisation of the peninsula.
In return for Trump’s soft stance on the regime’s pranks, the mercurial leader of North Korea seems to be showing no signs of giving any concessions at any point in the near future. He is openly defying international norms as details reveal the latest test took place at the Sohae satellite launch site, which the US once claimed Pyongyang had promised to close. And against all the odds and a wide spectrum of UN sanctions, the North Korea has also re-started the testing of short-range ballistic missiles. If that was not enough to test the waning power of the west, the regime openly renewed its verbal assault against the US president, nearly a year after he said Washington reserved the right to use military force against the country.
None of this comes as a surprise. The timid response from the US and Trump’s love for dictators will only encourage leaders like Kim Jong Un to continue with their policy of intimidation. And from the looks of it, he might have succeeded already. Going by the current trends, it is likely that North Korea, a prime and perhaps the only example of a hermit kingdom is using the United States’ receding influence on global issues as an excuse to advance its authority over the issue of denuclearisation, perhaps even to expand its nuclear program.